Firm News and Recent Decisions
July 10, 2014
TDR partner John Fitzgerald has been quoted twice in Crain’s Chicago Business articles concerning the pending constitutional challenge to Public Act 98-0599, which diminished the pension benefits received by members of State retirement systems. In a Crain’s article published on April 23, 2014, John was quoted on the significance of the Illinois Appellate Court’s recent decision in Illinois County Treasurers Association v. Hamer, 2014 IL App (4th) 130286. In another Crain’s article published on July 3, 2014, John commented on the impact of the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Kanerva v. Weems, 2014 IL 115811.
Along with TDR partners Gino L. DiVito, Brian C. Haussmann and Jack Barber and TDR associate Uri Abt, John represents retired teachers and retired and active school administrators in the consolidated litigation concerning the constitutionality of Public Act 98-0599
July 10, 2014
Jack Barber served as a panelist for a seminar entitled Resolving Shareholder Disputes as part of the Complex Financial Litigation series presented online by Thompson Reuters’ West Legal Ed Center and Financial Poise. Barber joined Hon. Richard J. Billick Jr. (Retired) and Charlie Kuyk, CPA on the panel, which was moderated by David E. Lieberman.
The panel discussion focused on disputes that arise in closely-held corporations, family businesses, and partnerships. Barber discussed the primary issues that cause shareholder and partner disputes, the most common types of disputes, the financial impact of disputes, methods to resolve disputes, and how shareholders and partners can guard against disputes by entering into shareholder or partnership agreements.
June 26, 2014
In this Law and Accounting column in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Jack Barber discussed a recent Illinois Appellate Court opinion holding that the Illinois Department of Revenue was not bound by its prior determinations that an organization was tax exempt. In Meridian Village Association v. Hamer, 2014 IL App (5th) 130078 (March 28, 2014), the court held that the Department properly concluded that a home for elderly residents was not exempt from property tax. The court reached this conclusion despite the fact that the Department had previously found the home to be exempt from retailers’ occupation and use tax. The court held that the Department was not bound by its prior determination and that the home did not establish that it was exempt from tax under Illinois law.
The appellate court’s analysis and decision emphasize that charitable organizations operating in Illinois cannot simply rely on tax exemption decisions by the Department of Revenue in prior years or regarding other taxes. Charitable organizations must continuously ensure that their operations meet the criteria for charitable-use tax exemptions to ensure they will maintain their tax-exempt status under Illinois law. And charitable organizations faced with a tax dispute must ensure that they and their legal counsel establish the necessary facts to support the claimed tax exemption under Illinois law.
May 15, 2014
On May 12, 2014, Judge Daniel Gillespie entered summary judgment for an Indiana engineer who was a defendant in a personal injury action filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Plaintiff is an Illinois ironworker who was injured while off-loading and staging I-beams at a construction site. Plaintiff alleged that the I-beams were constructed in such a manner that they were top heavy and side heavy and that instability caused the beams to shift unexpectedly resulting in crushing injuries to his legs. Plaintiff brought the action against the general contractor and various subcontractors involved with steel fabrication and erection. Plaintiff also named the project engineer. After taking only one deposition, TDR attorneys Dan Stanner and John Fitzgerald established that the engineer owed no legal duty in connection with the delivery or staging of the beams. Accordingly, Judge Gillespie entered summary judgment for TDR’s client at the very early stages of the discovery process.
May 15, 2014
On April 28, 2014, TDR obtained summary judgment for defendants in a fraud action stemming from the sale of a shopping center in the Chicago suburbs. TDR engaged in a thorough fact investigation revealing that the fraud allegations were entirely baseless. TDR attorneys Dan Stanner and Brent Ryan outlined those facts in a summary judgment motion submitted to The Honorable Raymond Mitchell in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The early summary judgment avoided the need for protracted discovery and depositions. Moreover, Judge Mitchell granted TDR’s request that plaintiff pay the defendants’ attorneys’ fees pursuant to a fee shift provision in the parties’ agreement. As a result, the defendants obtained a complete victory and will be reimbursed their fees and costs incurred in defending the case.
LAF’s Young Professionals Board Has Come a Long Way in Five Years
March 14, 2014
On March 3, 2014, The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin published a front-page article about the Legal Assistance Foundation's Young Professionals Board. In the article, TDR Partner Brian C. Haussmann, co-chair of the Board's social committee, discusses the group's roles, including fundraising, planning events and raising awareness about LAF’s mission of providing free civil legal services to low-income residents in Cook County.
Read more about Brian and the Board here: LAF’s Young Professionals Board has Come a Long Way in Five Years
January 13, 2014
SuperLawyers® Magazine has recognized nearly three-fourths of TDR partners for their high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The list of Illinois SuperLawyers includes no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state. Rising Star is a distinction reserved for the top 2.5% of Illinois lawyers who are under 40 or in practice for 10 years or fewer.
Karina Zabicki DeHayes
Gino L. DiVito
Mark H. Horwitch
Michael I Rothstein
Caesar A. Tabet
John J. Barber
Michael J. Grant
Brian C. Haussmann
Timothy A. Hudson
Daniel I. Konieczny
November 22, 2013
Tabet DiVito & Rothstein successfully represented the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) before the Illinois Supreme Court in a case argued by partner Gino DiVito. The Supreme Court’s decision in Hartney Fuel Oil Co. v. Hamer, 2013 IL 115130 is a landmark case that will determine the way that Illinois sales tax obligations are imposed on businesses. The decision provides for clear, fair, and consistent taxation.
The issue in the case was whether taxpayers could avoid paying sales tax within the RTA’s jurisdiction by creating “sales offices” in lower-tax downstate counties. The Illinois Supreme Court embraced the RTA’s interpretation of Illinois Retailers Occupation Tax statutes, finding that those statutes “were enacted to allow local jurisdictions to tax the composite of selling activities taking place within their jurisdictions,” so that tax obligations are imposed “in relation to services enjoyed by the retailer.”
Adopting the RTA’s arguments, the Supreme Court found that setting up “sales offices” to avoid tax was not “consistent with the statute or this court’s precedent.”
The Hartney Fuel Oil decision has significant consequences for how Illinois businesses meet their legal obligations under Illinois tax laws.
Tabet DiVito & Rothstein has extensive experience representing a diverse range of clients in complex tax litigation. Also representing the RTA’s interests before the Supreme Court were TDR attorneys Karina DeHayes, Daniel Konieczny, John Fitzgerald and Jack Barber.
September 26, 2013
Chicago Bar Association President Timothy Eaton has appointed Michael Rothstein to serve on a new Special Committee on Appellate Practice. The committee is comprised of leading appellate practitioners, all of whom are past presidents of the Appellate Lawyers Association.
August 19, 2013
In the August 19, 2013 edition of The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Jack Barber analyzed a recent and important Illinois Appellate Court opinion – Miller v. Harris, 2013 IL App (2d) 120512 (filed Feb. 21, 2013) – which cautions accountants that performing work under oral agreements may increase their exposure to breach of fiduciary duty claims.
Barber explains that accountants often defend against breach of fiduciary duty claims by asserting that a written contact or engagement letter defines their duties and limits their obligations. Working without a written contract or engagement letter significantly increases accountants’ litigation risk when faced with a breach of fiduciary duty claim.
You can read the entire article here.